Is being ANTI-diet culture the new trend?
I’ve been seeing a new “trend” pop up on social media that’s got me a bit irked. Have you noticed?
Being Anti “Diet Culture” seems to be the newest health fad.
Some of the people/influencers/nutritionists promoting that we “fight” diet culture define it as a system of beliefs that:
- Worships thinness (and equates it to health/moral value)
- Promotes weight loss to attain status.
- Demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others (which in turn shames people about food choices)
- Oppresses people who don’t align with this picture of health.
Being a part of diet culture doesn’t just mean you’re on a diet, but that you’re caught up in the culture of dieting which has destroyed your relationship with food.
At first glance it seems obvious: diet culture is bad.
And it is. In no way am I trying to say “diet culture is good” or “dieting is good” in this email.
But I do think this “rebellion” is, in some ways, just as extreme as “diet culture” itself. The pendulum has swung the other way.
I don’t like to talk politics, but this is what it feels like… Bear with me.
One group says, “the dress is blue and black.”
The other group says, “no… it’s white and gold.”
Some of us see the dress one way, but then we come back and see it as the other way…
But saying “I can see both” doesn’t give us a team to fight for.
So we pick the one we see “more often.” Blue and black? Or White and gold.
Choose and belong, or don’t choose and belong nowhere.
A nation divided.
Obviously, this is not an accurate comparison and is extremely exaggerated, but I’m getting at something real here.
My gripe is that everyone online is looking for attention.
Not just the “bad” guys—the “good” guys, too.
Extreme content gets views, it gets engagement, it gets the most loyal fans because it gets the most hate, too.
I know this because I have struggled with the fact that I don’t create particularly extreme content—and when I lean even a little bit extreme, it “performs” better by those metrics.
When I see these “anti-diet culture” posts popping up I cringe, because they are rooted in just as much, if not more, hate.
The truth is, a “diet” is just the kind of food a person chooses to eat.
Yes, the “culture” of dieting relates to weight loss, status, and has come to represent a lack of self-worth at a sick level that I’ll never condone.
But there is more to “diet” than weight loss.
More and more people are recognizing that what they want is a healthy relationship with food, and a healthy relationship with their body.
Wanting that healthy relationship while also wanting to get healthy (and maybe lose some weight for mentally healthy reasons) does NOT make you stuck on the “diet culture” side of this argument.
These are the messages I get from these anti-diet culture influencers:
- Wanting to lose weight = having a bad relationship with food
- Eating a low-carb diet means living a restricted life.
- Choosing not to eat a “real” cookie means we’ve been mentally damaged by society.
What about people who want to lose weight to have a happier life with their family? To play with their kids and be more active?
What about people who have a lower carb tolerance that thrive on a diet lower in carbohydrates? Or those who find that dietary fat gives them mental clarity that makes them feel on top of the world?
What if I don’t want a damn cookie, just because?
When I receive those messages, it doesn’t make me feel accepted or encouraged—it makes me feel judged and wrong.
It is not black and white (or black and blue, or white and gold…).
While I respect the ultimate goal this “anti-diet culture” revolution is trying to attain, we don’t “win” by becoming just as extreme.
We don’t “beat” a bully by being mean in return.
Shaming people for their choices to eat well (in the way and on the path that will be their own) isn’t going to help, and that is what the anti-diet culture is doing.
I know the pendulum will have to swing, and oh boy, it’s swinging. And I’m waiting for it to come back to the middle where we can just be reasonable.
The truth is, diet culture has made it so that most of us will have to swing a little too far to find that balance.
It is what it is, and that’s why I think it’s dangerous to tell people what they are doing is “wrong.”
If we could give people permission to find their way—even if it doesn’t align with our way, what worked for us, or what we think will work for them—we’d all be better off.
Remember whose business that is, by the way…
Anyway, I appreciate you hearing out my rant, and I’d love to know your opinion… Have you seen this diet culture rebellion content popping up? How does it make you feel? Has anything helped you stay true to your own health journey, despite those who may disagree?
Stay strong! And remember you’re perfect just as you are.
Light and love,